No new virus variants so far detected in Northwest Territories

Covid-19 testing in the NWT has so far not shown the presence of any new variants of the virus responsible, the territory’s health minister says.

Julie Green on Thursday told the legislature there has been no sign of variants of the disease such as those first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa, which exhibit traits that may make some vaccines less effective.

“It’s my understanding that all the tests are now sent south for sequencing and, as of this time, we have no variants,” Green said in response to a question from Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly.


O’Reilly wants information about any detected variants of Covid-19 to be added to public health advisories issued by the NWT government. Green said she could make no promises as the chief public health officer alone holds responsibility for the content of those advisories.

“I’m hoping that kind of information can be added because it is causing some public concern,” said O’Reilly.

This week, one NWT resident was medevaced to Edmonton in a critical condition after suffering complications related to Covid-19.

There was no immediate update on their condition on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Diavik and Gahcho Kué mines each said they had upgraded their Covid-19 testing regimes.